MOSCOW, Aug 29 (PRIME) — Russias Federal Space Agency has decided to delay the return of three members of the International Space Stations (ISS) crew until September 16 due to the recent crash of the Progress M-12M freighter spacecraft, Alexei Krasnov, head of the agencys manned programs directorate, said Monday, as cited by RIA Novosti.
On August 24, Russias Progress M-12M spacecraft, launched on a Soyuz-2 rocket from the Baikonur space center, crashed in the constituent republic of Altai.
The agency initially planned to return Russian astronauts Andrei Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyayev, and Ron Garan, an astronaut from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), from the ISS on September 8.
The remaining members of the ISS crew were expected to be returned by November 20, Krasnov said. They are Russian astronaut Sergei Volkov, NASA astronaut Michael Fossum, and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa.
Krasnov also said that the Russian space agency plans to carry out two test launches of unmanned spacecraft before launching manned spacecraft with a new crew for the ISS onboard. The launch of manned spacecraft is now slated to take place in late October or early November, with the agency having delayed a launch previously scheduled for September 22, he added.
Krasnov added that the approval of the membership of the ISS new crew is also expected to be delayed for more than a week. Russias inter-departmental commission was initially expected to approve the ISS new crew on September 5.